NZ scores low on customer and partner collaboration: IBM's C-suite study

Only 28 per cent of local respondents believe they strongly collaborate with customers, and 34 per cent of NZ executives believe they collaborate strongly with business partners and suppliers

About 82 per cent of respondents, from more than 50 of New Zealand’s largest private and public sector organisations, anticipate truly understanding their customers within the next three to five years, up from just 16 per cent now.

And while just 28 per cent of local respondents believe they strongly collaborate with customers today – compared with 46 per cent internationally – they expect to triple this to 96 per cent over the next three to five years.

These findings are part of a new study released by IBM. The New Zealand results are part of a major worldwide study by the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV), The Customer-activated Enterprise, which set out to better understand the pressing business issues, strategic insights and aspirations of senior leadership holding ‘C-suite’ roles.

More than 52 face-to-face interviews were conducted in New Zealand with executives including CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, CMOs and chief human resource officers. Around 42 per cent of the interviews represented the public sector.

IBM New Zealand MD, Rob Lee, said the business landscape has fundamentally changed with the study showing that C-suite executives recognise the pressing need to open up to customer influence in strategy and decision making.

“The emergence of social, mobile and digital tools means we’re faced with a new dynamic, one where the customer has a greater say than ever before in their relationships with organisations. It’s forcing businesses to rethink how they work and has introduced the customer as the newest member of the C-suite,” Lee said.

New Zealand’s relatively low scores on current levels of customer collaboration extend to business partners, suppliers and employees. Currently, 34 per cent of NZ executives believe they collaborate strongly with business partners and suppliers, compared to 47 per cent internationally.

When asked about employee collaboration, just 32 per cent of New Zealand executives rated this as strong, compared to 50 per cent elsewhere globally..

“Flourishing enterprises are typically those that work closely with their partners and suppliers and, more particularly, have strong, effective employee networks and engagement.

“Successful navigation of this changing business landscape is dependent on trust and increased organisational openness, stronger partner networks that allow others to add value through innovation and collaboration, and a redefining of relationships to strategically engage with increasingly technology-empowered customers,” said Lee.

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